MKO Abiola And Sylvester Oromoni: The Conniving Spirit Of Expedient Autopsy Reports

The Oasis Reporters

January 10, 2022




Autopsy report says Sylvester Oromoni died of natural causes. Ijaw nation is unbelieving.



Chief MKO Abiola (left), Sylvester Oromoni.

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In 1998, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, popularly called MKO, winner of the June 12,1993 presidential election suddenly died before an international audience.


Abiola had just sipped a cup of tea shortly before he collapsed. “We know who made it,” John E. Pless, an Indiana University pathology professor said, of the beverage popular among Nigerians. “We have no questions about the tea.”

Suspicion and rumors of poisoning have run at fever pitch since Abiola, 60, collapsed that fateful Tuesday while meeting with U.S. officials who had come to encourage his release. The military regime had jailed the millionaire since 1994, a year after it annulled a presidential election in which Abiola was the apparent winner.

Then military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar seemed panicky. He was one of the most senior army officers that was shooed in to take the place of then Head of state, General Sani Abacha who had died in between the thighs of two young naked Indian females of pleasure.

Though a Lt.General, Jeremiah Useni was senior to Major General Abubakar, the former was picked by the military cabal pulling Nigeria’s strings.

General Abubakar called all those he could summon, including Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of Thisday Newspapers to help douse the anger in the land with effective public relations.

An international medical team then concluded that a heart attack indeed killed Moshood Abiola, the popular political dissident whose sudden death on the apparent eve of his release from prison which threw Africa’s most populous nation into crisis.

In a late-night autopsy conducted at an unnamed Lagos hospital, American, British and Canadian pathologists discovered “significant enlargement of the heart” due to chronic high blood pressure and “severe narrowing of the main coronary arteries by fatty plaques,” the doctors said in an anxiously awaited preliminary report, delivered two hours after he was laid to rest during an emotional burial service.

“It is a well-understood medical fact that either of these conditions can result in sudden death. When found together they are more likely to cause sudden death,” said James G. Young, the Canadian coroner who led the team, which was selected by Abiola’s family.

“We’re quite confident in the conclusions we have.”

Those conclusions, which confirmed the Nigerian military’s initial cause of death, were not what many Nigerians expected to hear.

The medical team called poisoning “extremely unlikely.” Young said a formal finding must await toxicology reports that will take about three weeks. But he said the autopsy revealed “no gross evidence” of poisoning, and team members said they were reassured by interviews with those around Abiola the day he died.

Yet the autopsy report left room for those eager to lay responsibility for Abiola’s death at the feet of his captors. Pathologists acknowledged they did not address the quality — or lack — of medical care Abiola received in prison.

“He had diarrhea for six months and was unattended to,” said his daughter, Lola Abiola, who said her father listed his ailments during a visit the day before his death. She said he suffered malaria contracted in a mosquito-ridden cell, and that head, ankle and elbow injuries suffered during a bathroom fall went untreated for three weeks because his captors “thought he was faking.”

Who Killed Abiola?” read a poster held aloft at his Lagos home, where he was buried that afternoon. “Answer Not in Autopsy But in Logical Reasoning. It Is His 4 Years of Captivity.”

Abiola was buried at the foot of a palm tree in his front lawn, amid a scene of controlled chaos that in some ways reflected the forces now sweeping Nigerian politics.

Ruled by generals for all but 10 years since independence, the country of more than 100 million is emerging from the shadow of an oppressive ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha. When the strongman died suddenly June 8 after bleeding Nigeria of millions — perhaps billions — of oil revenue dollars and jailing untold numbers of political opponents, the official cause of death was heart attack. Abacha was buried without an autopsy.

His successor, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, pledged to return the country to civilian rule and began freeing political prisoners. When Abiola also died suddenly of what first reports called a heart attack, rioting erupted in several southern cities, leaving scores dead.

The outrage had tribal roots. The feeling voiced repeatedly in Lagos was that Abiola, as the nation’s most popular member of the southwestern Yoruba tribe, had been eliminated by the northern Hausa-speaking ethnic group that dominates Nigeria’s military and has controlled its government through almost all of its 28 years of independence.

In the aftermath of the threat made by some agitated Ijaw youths threatening that the “Ijaw nation” would assemble at Dowen College if the school reopens without justice for Sylvester Oromoni, the late student of the college allegedly killed by the activities of certain cultists, the sister of Sylvester Oromoni, Anabelle Oromoni, has reacted after the Lagos State government said autopsy results showed her brother died a natural death.

Sylvester’s family had said he was beaten up by older students and given a substance to drink.

They added that their son Sylvester named 5 of the boys who allegedly assaulted him. The students named are:

Favour Benjamin aged 16, Micheal Kashamu (15), Edward Begue (16), Ansel Temile (14) and Kenneth Inyang (15).

However, the Lagos State Government later cleared the five students and five employees of Dowen College accused of complicity in the death of 11-year-old Sylvester Oromoni.

According to an Ijaw nation spokesman, the suspected cultism culprits were cleared over the Christmas weekend when courts were on break.

The state cleared them as well as the school following the Legal Advice of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Ms. Adetutu Oshinusi.

According to the advice, the interim and final autopsy reports issued by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and toxicology report of post mortem samples and that of the Central Hospital, Warri were in agreement as to the cause of death namely: Septicaemia, Lobar Pneumonia with Acute Pyelonephritis, Pyomyositis of the right ankle and Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe Sepsis.

The result of the toxicology is also not indicative of any toxic or poisonous substance in the body of the deceased.

The DPP’s legal advice, therefore, concluded that based on these findings, there is no prima facie case of murder, involuntary manslaughter and or malicious administering of poison with intent to harm against the five students, Favour Benjamin aged 16, Micheal Kashamu (15), Edward Begue (16), Ansel Temile (14) and Kenneth Inyang (15).

Speaking during a radio interview on Nigerian Info, Sylvester’s sister, Anabelle said the claim that her brother died a natural death is simply a tactic to justify the reopening of the school.

She added that in Nigeria, “there is always power plays involved”.

When asked whether the family has seen the toxicology report that shows Sylvester died a natural death, she said its been word of mouth and the government and police have refused to show them the report.

She said: “They haven’t shown us anything. We’ve been asking them to show us.”

Happening within the same holiday period, the American nation seem to have recalibrated it’s national ethos on virtue by sentencing the father and son (who are) white murderers of a black youth, Ahmaud Arbery to life in prison.

{Further reading:   




This was how The Conversation reported it, “Two of the three men convicted of murdering unarmed Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery learned on Jan. 7, 2021, that they will likely die behind bars.Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael were sentenced to life in prison without parole at a hearing in Glynn County, Georgia. A third man, William Bryan, was sentenced to life in prison with parole. He must serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars before he is eligible.

All three were found guilty on Nov. 24, 2021, of murder in a case that gained widespread attention during a national reckoning over the killing of unarmed Black men in the U.S.

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was killed on Feb. 23, 2020, after being pursued through the predominantly white suburban neighborhood of Satilla Shores, near Brunswick in Georgia.

For many, the manner of his death raised questions over the role race played in the killing, evoking a U.S. past in which gangs of white men killed Black men and boys with impunity. But race played a backseat role in the trial, being brought up only in the prosecutor’s closing argument. Instead, the nearly all-white jury – 11 of the 12 jurors were white – was invited to focus more on whether the defendants were justified in trying to apprehend Arbery as he jogged down the road”.




Greg Abolo with Additional reporting from:

The Washington Post
The Conversation
Nigerian Info

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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